SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

Languages of South Asia at SOAS: Pali

Pali is a Middle Indic dialect closely related to Sanskrit, and one of the major languages of Buddhist scriptures and literature. It has indeed been used for over 2000 years by Theravāda Buddhists of India, Sri Lanka, and South East Asia, who traditionally believed it to be the very language spoken by the Buddha. It is therefore indispensable to understand the religious thought and cultures of these countries.


Pali is taught in the Department of the Study of Religions.


Dr. Vincent Tournier, Department of the Study of Religions, (

Degree Programmes

Other Resources

Suggested reading:

  • W. Geiger, A Pali grammar (trans. B. Ghosh, ed. K.R. Norman), London 1994.
  • K.R.Norman, Pali literature, Wiesbaden 1983.
  • A.K.Warder, Introduction to Pali, London 1963.

Please Note: Not all modules and programmes are available every year